Leviticus 7
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering: it is most holy.
(5) The Guilt-Offering. Priestly portions of other offerings (Leviticus 7:1-10)

The similarity between the Guilt-Offering and the Sin-Offering is very close (see Leviticus 7:7). Both are ‘most holy’ and to be killed in the same place (Leviticus 6:25, cp. Leviticus 7:1-2). The parts to be burned on the altar are the same (Leviticus 3:4; Leviticus 3:9-11, Leviticus 4:31; Leviticus 4:35, cp. Leviticus 7:3-5), but note that the word ‘food,’ Heb. léhem, of Leviticus 3:11; Leviticus 3:16 is not applied to the Guilt-Offering, and the remainder is to be eaten in the same manner (Leviticus 6:26; Leviticus 6:29, cp. Leviticus 7:6-7).

In the place where they kill the burnt offering shall they kill the trespass offering: and the blood thereof shall he sprinkle round about upon the altar.
2. shall he sprinkle] or scatter, as in the Burnt-Offering. See note on Leviticus 1:5.

And he shall offer of it all the fat thereof; the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards,
3. the fat tail] See note on Leviticus 3:9.

And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul that is above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away:
And the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a trespass offering.
Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy.
As the sin offering is, so is the trespass offering: there is one law for them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith shall have it.
7. there is one law for them] It is doubtful whether these words, and those immediately preceding them, can be taken as enjoining the sěmîkah or laying on of hands (see on Leviticus 1:4). But according to tradition, that ceremony was applied in the case of Guilt-Offerings, and this passage was quoted in support of the practice.

the priest … shall have it] Cp. 2 Kings 12:16, where both Guilt-and Sin-Offerings are assigned to the priest. At the close of the injunctions concerning the ‘most holy’ sacrifices, a short summary (Leviticus 7:8-10) of the priests’ dues from such sacrifices is given. Most of them have been mentioned before; the priests’ due from the Guilt-Offering is settled in Leviticus 7:7; their dues from the Burnt-Offering and Meal-Offering are assigned in Leviticus 7:8-10.

And the priest that offereth any man's burnt offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt offering which he hath offered.
8. The rule that the skin of the Burnt-Offering belongs to the priest who offers it is extended in the Mishna to the skins of the ‘most holy,’ i.e. the Sin- and Guilt-Offerings. Perhaps this is implied in Leviticus 7:7. We gather from Zebaḥim 103 b (Tal. Bab.) that the skin of the Peace-Offering belonged to the offerer. It is doubtful whether the skin of a priest’s Burnt-Offering is here included: after the analogy of the priestly minḥah (Leviticus 6:23) the whole of a priest’s sacrifice must be burnt.

And all the meat offering that is baken in the oven, and all that is dressed in the fryingpan, and in the pan, shall be the priest's that offereth it.
9. The three methods of preparing the Meal-Offering specified in this verse are also enumerated in Leviticus 2:4-7 (see notes there). Many commentators distinguish between these cooked forms of the Meal-offering (here assigned to the priest who offereth it) and the other Meal-Offerings ‘mingled with oil’ described in Leviticus 2:1-3; Leviticus 2:14-16, and ‘dry’ Meal-Offerings, such as the Sin-Offering of the poor man (Leviticus 5:11) and the jealousy-offering (Numbers 5:15). These belong to ‘all the sons of Aaron one as well as another’ (Leviticus 7:10). No reason is here given for this different assignment of the Meal-Offerings. All the Meal-Offerings of ch. 2 are mingled with oil, and according to the Jewish traditional interpretation ‘the meal-offering mingled with oil’ includes all the offerings of ch. 2, and the ‘dry’ offering refers to the Sin-Offering of the poor man, and the jealousy-offering. In Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 2:10 and Leviticus 6:16; Leviticus 6:18 that which is left of the Meal-Offering, whether cooked or not, is assigned to ‘Aaron and his sons.’

And every meat offering, mingled with oil, and dry, shall all the sons of Aaron have, one as much as another.
And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the LORD.
11. which one shall offer] i.e. anyone who desires to bring this kind of offering; where there is no emphasis on the subject, the passive is generally employed in English, ‘which may be offered.’

The Peace-Offering comes in this collection of toroth after the Sin and Guilt-Offerings, either because the ‘most holy’ things are placed first, or because the Peace-Offering is treated at greater length than the others. The text is not above suspicion; the omission by the LXX. in Leviticus 7:12 is noticed below, and the frequent occurrences of the Heb. prep. ‘al, translated ‘for’ and ‘with’ in Leviticus 7:12, and ‘with’ twice in Leviticus 7:13, are noted by Wellh., who remarks (Hist. of Isr. p. 69, note 1): ‘the suspicion very readily occurs that Leviticus 7:12 is an authentic interpretation prefixed, to obviate beforehand the difficulty presented by Leviticus 7:13, and that similarly the first ‘al in Leviticus 7:13 is also a later correction which does not harmonize well by any means with the second.’ This criticism is endorsed by Berth. KHC Lev. p. 22, and Bibl. Theol. d. A. T. ii.P.350.

The Peace-Offering may be brought for three reasons:

(a) For thanksgiving (Leviticus 7:12), to commemorate deliverance from sickness or danger. In Psalms 107, after mentioning perils out of which the Lord delivers man, the Psalmist says ‘let them offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving’ (Leviticus 7:22). These are quoted in Tal. Bab. Berǎchoth 54 b as occasions on which the Lord must be openly praised (cf. Leviticus 7:22; Leviticus 7:32 of the Ps., and Psalm 56:12).

(b) In fulfilment of a vow (Leviticus 7:16, cp. Psalm 56:12; Psalm 66:13-14; Psalm 116:12-19), when a man promises to bring an offering to the Lord, if He deliver him out of his distress.

(c) As a freewill offering (Leviticus 7:16, cp. Psalm 54:6) when the heart is moved by the remembrance of God’s tender mercies (Psalm 95:1-2; Psalm 103:1-5) to bring an oblation. Offerings for vows and freewill offerings are mentioned in Leviticus 22:18; Leviticus 22:21; Leviticus 22:23; Numbers 15:3; a sacrifice of thanksgiving in Leviticus 22:29. On the distinction between the three kinds see note on Leviticus 22:23.

(6) The Peace-Offering (11–21)

If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried.
12. If the Peace-Offering be for thanksgiving, three kinds of cakes are to be brought with it; the difference between the first and third is not clearly indicated. On the consecration of Aaron and his sons (Exodus 29:2; Exodus 29:23; Leviticus 8:26) three kinds of cakes are ordered to be brought with the ram of consecration; the second and third of these are identical with the first and second of those here prescribed. This is shewn below in tabular form:

Leviticus 7:12  Exodus 29:2; Exodus 29:23 and Leviticus 8:26.

  unleavened bread  (1) [49] one unleavened cake,

(a) unleavened cakes  mingled with oil  (2) one cake of oiled bread,

(b) unleavened wafers  anointed with oil  (3) one wafer,

(c) fine flour mixed [Into cakes mingled] with oil.  of fine wheaten flour shalt thou make them.  

[49] Exodus 29:23 has ‘one loaf of bread’ but as it is further described as ‘taken out of the basket of unleavened bread’ it is clear that the loaf is unleavened.

Now if the three kinds of cakes are the same on both occasions (which seems probable and is the traditional interpretation) then (c) will be equivalent to (1) of Exodus 29 and Leviticus 8. Cp. the offering of the Nazirite (Numbers 6:15; Numbers 6:19).

The Heb. word murbeketh (here, Leviticus 6:21 and 1 Chronicles 23:29 only) is rendered ‘soaked’ (‘fried’ A.V.), but probably means that the flour is well stirred together, as is done in making bread or pastry. The words which are in brackets in (c) are not found in the LXX., and it may be that they have been accidentally repeated from (a). The description of (c) does not clearly distinguish it from (a) whether the words be retained in the text or not.

Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offerings.
13. With cakes of leavened bread he shall offer his oblation] The cakes described in Leviticus 7:12 form the oblation; besides these he is to bring leavened cakes, which are not intended for the altar (see Leviticus 2:11) but are similar in character to the offering mentioned in Leviticus 2:12. According to Amos 4:5, leaven was brought with a thanksgiving offering, and the two wave loaves offered at the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:17) were ‘baken with leaven.’ If ‘with’ (i.e. the first ‘al of Leviticus 7:13 in the passage from Wellh. quoted above), be omitted, then the rendering would be ‘cakes of leavened bread shall he bring as his oblation in addition to the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving,’ and ‘his oblation’ would then refer to the leavened cakes of Leviticus 7:13. The same reference is made in the rendering of A.V., but it is doubtful whether ‘besides the cakes’ can be taken as a translation of the existing Mass. text.

And of it he shall offer one out of the whole oblation for an heave offering unto the LORD, and it shall be the priest's that sprinkleth the blood of the peace offerings.
14. one out of each oblation] According to the practice in the second temple, ten of each of the three kinds of unleavened cakes and ten leavened cakes were brought. The priest took one out of each ten, and the remainder belonged to the bringer of the sacrifice, to be eaten along with his share of the flesh of the Peace-Offering. These cakes were not treated as Meal-Offerings, for the priests claimed the whole of such offerings (Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 2:10), but as an accompaniment of the Peace-Offering. Thus four of them were given as ‘Tĕrûmah’ to the Lord for the priest that threw the blood against the altar (see note on Leviticus 1:5). ‘Tĕrûmah,’ ‘heave-offering,’ does not, however, indicate throwing, as the English word suggests, but something lifted or ‘taken off from a larger mass, and so separated from it for sacred purposes,’ and hence dedicated to God through His ministers. Driver on Exodus 25:2, where see his full note. See also App. IV, Wave-Offering (end).

And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any of it until the morning.
15–18. Limits of time within which the Peace-Offerings must be consumed. When they are for thanksgiving, the whole of the flesh must be eaten on the day they are offered; before midnight is the traditional rule. A similar condition is prescribed in Exodus 23:18, which is taken by some as referring to the festivals mentioned in Leviticus 7:14-17; another view limits the injunction to the passover, as in Exodus 34:25. In many ancient heathen rites, the flesh of the victim was consumed as soon as possible (Rel. Sem.2, p. 387). When the offering is made in fulfilment of a vow, or as a freewill offering (Leviticus 7:16), two days are allowed for consuming the remainder. In no case may the flesh be eaten on the third day (Leviticus 7:17-18). Such eating rendered the sacrifice unacceptable, and the offerer had to bring a fresh sacrifice, while anyone so eating incurred punishment (Leviticus 19:6-8). The words following ‘the morrow’ in Leviticus 7:16 are omitted in the LXX.; with this omission the passage more closely resembles Leviticus 19:6 f. In Leviticus 22:17-25 further rules are given concerning those animals which may be offered for a vow or as a freewill-offering, and in Leviticus 22:29 a sacrifice of thanksgiving, though not called a Peace-Offering, is described as one of which the flesh must be consumed on the same day that it is offered (see note there).

But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offereth his sacrifice: and on the morrow also the remainder of it shall be eaten:
But the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burnt with fire.
And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity.
18. it shall be an abomination] Heb. piggûl, a word which occurs here and in Leviticus 19:7 of the flesh of the Peace-Offering which is eaten on the third day, and elsewhere only in Isaiah 65:4, broth of abominable things (Heb. piggûlim); Ezekiel 4:14, abominable flesh (Heb. flesh of Piggûl). In both these passages food of an unclean character, perhaps mixed with blood, is referred to (cp. Rel. Sem.2, 343, note 3). The word is a common technical term in the Mishna. It is unfortunate that both here and in Leviticus 7:21 ‘abomination,’ which is generally the translation of tô‘çbhah, should be employed as the English equivalent of two other Heb. words, but it is difficult to find a good English word for piggûl.

And the flesh that toucheth any unclean thing shall not be eaten; it shall be burnt with fire: and as for the flesh, all that be clean shall eat thereof.
19–21. The sacrificial flesh must not be brought into contact with anything that is unclean, nor eaten by anyone that is unclean. Special cases of ritual impurity are enumerated in chs. 11–15.

But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.
Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, or any unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which pertain unto the LORD, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.
21. abomination] detestation, Heb. shéḳeẓ: the word is used in ch. Leviticus 11:10-12 of things without fins and scales that move in the waters, and in Leviticus 11:13; Lev 11:20; Lev 11:23; Lev 11:41-42 of birds of prey and creeping (swarming) things. See notes there. Some prefer to read shereẓ (swarming thing) following Sam. Targ. Pesh.

shall be cut off] It has been debated whether this expression means death or outlawry. Probably the latter penalty is intended. Cp. Code of Ḥammurabi (Johns) §§ 154, 158.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Fat and Blood prohibited (22–27)

The Peace-Offering being the only sacrifice which was partly consumed by the offerer, any rule as to portions of the animal that were not to be eaten would appropriately be added to the regulations concerning this sacrifice. Accordingly, in ch. 3, which treats of the Peace-Offering, the prohibition of fat and blood occurs in a short form (Leviticus 7:17). It is repeated here in connexion with the preceding regulations about Peace-Offerings. The fat which is prohibited is that contained in the portions reserved as an offering made by fire unto the Lord, described at length in chs. 3, 4 and Leviticus 7:3-5. They were the same in the Peace-, Guilt-, and Sin-Offerings. The ordinary fat found with the flesh was not forbidden. Leviticus 7:25 explains that the portions which in a sacrifice are set apart for the Lord must not be consumed as food by man, even when the animals were not suitable to be offered on the altar, as in the case of that which dieth of itself, or is torn of beasts. If the animal were fit to be offered, according to Leviticus 17:4-5, it must when killed be brought before the Lord, and these portions would be burnt on the altar by the priest. The prohibition extends only to the ox, sheep, or goat, i.e. to the animals which were brought for sacrifice, but the prohibition of blood (Leviticus 7:26) is more general. No manner of blood may be eaten, whether of fowl or beast. It is of permanent obligation (Leviticus 3:17).

The command is given to Noah, Genesis 9:4 (P), and is repeated in this book, Leviticus 17:10-14. Cp. 1 Samuel 14:32-34. The prohibition of blood was enforced among the Arabs by Mohammed. See J. M. Rodwell’s Koran2, Sur. 2. [xci. The Cow] 168.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat.
And the fat of the beast that dieth of itself, and the fat of that which is torn with beasts, may be used in any other use: but ye shall in no wise eat of it.
For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people.
Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings.
Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings unto the LORD shall bring his oblation unto the LORD of the sacrifice of his peace offerings.
Priestly Portions of the Peace-Offering (28–34)

29. his oblation] The word does not refer to the whole sacrifice as in other places, but to that portion which was offered by fire, i.e. the fat portions specially reserved for the Lord as (Leviticus 7:30) ‘the offerings of the Lord made by fire’ (described in Leviticus 3:3-5; Leviticus 3:9-10; Leviticus 3:14-15), together with the breast to be waved as a Wave-Offering before the Lord, which is not burned with the fat (i.e. the fat portions of Leviticus 3:3-5, etc.) but reserved as a portion for ‘Aaron and his sons.’

His own hands shall bring the offerings of the LORD made by fire, the fat with the breast, it shall he bring, that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before the LORD.
30. wave offering] The offering was waved towards the altar and back, apparently to express symbolically that it was first given to God and then restored by Him to the priest for his use. See Appendix IV, pp. 183 ff.

And the priest shall burn the fat upon the altar: but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'.
And the right shoulder shall ye give unto the priest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings.
32. the right thigh] not ‘shoulder’ as mg. The plural ‘ye’ indicates the composite character of this section. The right thigh was a further due of the priests, given to the officiating priest, as well as the breast, which was given to Aaron and his sons for ever (Leviticus 7:34).

The priestly dues seem to have gradually increased. According to 1 Samuel 2:13 ff. the worshipper was apparently allowed to decide for himself how much to give. The priestly portion assigned in 1 Samuel 9:24 to Saul as a mark of honour was ‘the thigh, and the fat tail.’ (See note on p. 12.) The legislation of Deut. (Deuteronomy 18:3) gives the priest ‘the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.’ But here (cp. Leviticus 10:14 f.; Exodus 29:27 f.) he was still better off with the wave breast and right thigh.

He among the sons of Aaron, that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder for his part.
For the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel.
This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons, out of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister unto the LORD in the priest's office;
35. anointing-portion] R.V. mg. portion. The Heb. root which means to anoint is found in Aramaic and Assyrian in the sense to measure. The word here and the similar word in Numbers 18:8 (by reason of the anointing, ‘for a portion,’ R.V. mg.) probably indicate an assigned or ‘measured portion,’ without excluding a play on the other sense of the root.

Conclusion (35–38)

The summary in Leviticus 7:35-36 refers to the priestly dues, either to those just mentioned in Leviticus 7:31-34, or more generally to those prescribed in the section Leviticus 6:8 to Leviticus 7:34.

Which the LORD commanded to be given them of the children of Israel, in the day that he anointed them, by a statute for ever throughout their generations.
36. in the day that he anointed them] According to Exodus 29:7; Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 4:5; Leviticus 4:16; Leviticus 6:20; Leviticus 6:22; Leviticus 8:12; Leviticus 21:10; Leviticus 21:12; Numbers 35:25, only one priest (the high priest) was anointed, but according to Exod. 7:29, Exodus 28:41, Exodus 30:30, Exodus 40:15; Leviticus 7:36; Leviticus 10:7; Numbers 3:3, all priests were anointed.

This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings;
37, 38. These verses seem at first sight to form a general conclusion to chs. 1–7, but as the order in which the sacrifices are mentioned is closely connected with that in Leviticus 6:8 to Leviticus 8:34, it must be regarded as a conclusion to that section1[50]. The words ‘and of the consecration’ probably are intended as a reterence to Leviticus 6:19-23; whether it is to be regarded as an addition depends upon the view taken of that section, and of the words ‘in the day when he is anointed’ in Leviticus 6:20 (see pp. 30 ff.).

[50] It is possible that the last clause of Leviticus 7:38 may refer to chs. 1–6:7.

Note. The priests’ portions as prescribed under the separate offerings are as follows:

(a) That which remains of the Meal-Offerings, Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 2:10; Leviticus 6:16-18; Leviticus 7:9-10; Leviticus 7:14 (brought as part of the Peace-Offering); Leviticus 24:9, the shewbread.

(b) The remainder of the Sin-Offerings, except of those whereof any of the blood is brought into the tent of meeting; Leviticus 5:13, Leviticus 6:26; Leviticus 6:29-30.

(c) The remainder of the Guilt-Offerings, Leviticus 7:6-7; and the ‘restitution for guilt’ where there is no kinsman to whom restitution may be made, Numbers 5:8.

(d) The skin of the Burnt-Offering, Leviticus 7:7.

(e) Of the Peace-Offerings, the wave breast for Aaron and his sons, and the heave thigh for the priest who offers the blood and the fat, Leviticus 7:29-34.

Which the LORD commanded Moses in mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations unto the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai.
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